Portland's Gus J. Solomon U.S. Courthouse is a star attraction


The Gus J. Solomon U.S. Courthouse is a star—Portland, Ore.’s symbol of progress in its day—built on the cusp of the Great Depression, surrounded by the precious treasures that characterize grace and style and exude a quietly elegant demeanor touched with the gracious warmth of a true grande dame.

In the past, the courthouse’s gold inlaid marble hallways rang with matters of justice. Today it has embarked on another adventure—as a film star.

Because its corridors carry only the memory of busy trials and court schedules, Solomon Courthouse’s oak-clad courtrooms are free for the exciting bustle of filming schedules. The halls have rang with the voices of Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding Jr., Marlee Matlin, and Timothy Hutton. Since 1977, virtually all of the directors, stars, and crew of the movies shot in Portland have walked under the outstretched wings of the stone-carved eagle perched above its door. The names of some of these productions include “Grimm,” “Leverage,” “Men of Honor,” “The Hunted,” “Final Justice,” “A Change of Heart,” “Take My Advice: The Ann and Abby Story,” “Where the Truth Lies,” and “Switched at Birth.”

The Solomon Courthouse’s steward and primary advocate, Howard Schaffer, is responsible for its debut in show business.

Schaffer, a U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) property manager, actively marketed the lovely interiors as office space, but surprisingly increased revenues by partnering with the state of Oregon and the film industry to market the Solomon Courthouse as a premier filming location. That legacy continues with the help of Solomon’s current property manager Ed Solbach and GSA Outleasing program manager Stan Catchpole.

Has the spotlight tempo slowed down for the Solomon? Catchpole says there’s little chance of that. Just last month IDTV Film & Video Productions from the Netherlands filmed a courtroom trailer for “Who is the Mole.” Last year, GSA opened the courthouse doors to Portland Community College Film Program students to shoot a courtroom scene.

The Solomon U.S. Courthouse has the grace and charm to bolster the image of one of our great northwest cities, and in turn reflects proudly upon the GSA Northwest/Arctic Region, who own and maintain the historic landmark.

GSA owns and leases over 376.9 million square feet of space in 9,600 buildings in more than 2,200 communities nationwide. To learn more about GSA’s historic buildings, please visit www.gsa.gov/historicpreservation.

Last Reviewed: 2019-03-11